Disclaimer: I don't own Vampire Knight, this is a fanfic written for fun and for love of the series. I'm not making any money with it.

Warnings: Angst & blood. Also, spoilers for chapters 30 to 35.

This is a partial AU, because in this fic, some time has passed since episode 30's scene with Kaname & Zero, and there's no move on Rido's part yet. (Think of it as extending things a bit so that Rido attacks later, after the next vacation instead of this one? lol)

As a result, everybody is still at school including Takuma & co., and things are normal without Rido-in-Shiki's-body stuff as of yet.


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He sat in the water, looking dejectedly at the ripples running on the surface each time a stray drop rolled off the tip of the gold faucet.

He stared past it all, not really seeing anything, not even noticing that the water had long gone cold and his fingertips were wrinkled from being in it too long. His wet hair clung partially to his face, heavy with water and the tears that had long burned a trail down his cheeks.

A pureblood's tears, something that no one was supposed to ever see, but that he hadn't been able to hold back, and that he had spilled in front of the two the previous evening, when Yuuki told him.

Absentmindedly, he picked up the razor left on the side of the tub and stared at the blade for a moment, certainty replacing the bleak despair in his features.

He had stayed away from Yuuki for all those years so that she would be safe from any harm that came his way, but also so that she would have a choice. He had always yearned to turn her, to give her back her memories and have her come to his side at last, but he managed to control himself all these years, precisely because he wanted her to have the choice.

Ironically, the possibility that she may not choose him had never even crossed his mind.

Maybe it was because there is only so much a mind can take. He may be a pureblood, but he had lost everything he ever had. Even his most precious one, since she had forgotten everything then grown distant with the years.

Trying to accept the idea that she may not eventually return to his side would have been the last blow that would have broken him. It was hard enough to have tried to look fine during those ten years.

Ten years of misery, ten years of day after day of rising with the sunset as if everything was normal, and composing a mask of control for all the others to see. Only she did see through and notice the misery in his eyes, although she never grasped how bad it was.

And now, this.

Much as he wanted to tear the hunter apart, he couldn't avoid facing the truth. It was his miscalculation, his own error. Kiryuu had done nothing but play his own part of the game, perhaps the same way he himself would have done. Living next to her and not wanting to have her would be impossible, at his eyes. He couldn't blame the other for loving her.

The only thing he would never forgive the hunter was the first bite he gave Yuuki. But the point was moot, since forgiving or not, he couldn't harm him anyway. He would never do something to the one Yuuki chose.

It was he who had made the wrong move. Putting the knight next to the queen, so that she would be always safe where the presence of the king would have drawn a much too dangerous attention over her. It seemed straightforward enough. He had no idea the knight had it in him to become a king of his own.

He made a colossal miscalculation, and now, the game was over. But ultimately, this had always all been about her happiness, and her having a choice. She had chosen now.

He would be the graceful loser, and remove himself so that her choice would be truly possible.

As a vampire by his side, she would have been an invincible queen and eternity would have been theirs. As a human, on the long run his presence would only bring danger to her. His peers would hate her for taking away the attentions of a pureblood, and his ennemies would find her through him.

So ultimately, while the game had come to a checkmate for him, it would maybe be better for her that way, even though her life would be ephemeral as the spring rain, gone a mere moment after it begins, and certainly more frightening in that she wouldn't be able to defend herself from the many dangers in this world. But it would be more safe in that she could more easily get farther away from all that made it even more dangerous for her.

And she would have her knight, to protect her. She would be fine. He was repeating the words in his mind, as if to try to convince himself; a part of him was ashamed at how badly he was holding up, and perfectly aware that he was playing tricks on himself to make it sound like it didn't hurt as much. He knew well that the truth was that he couldn't face the pain of living without her.

It wasn't just about removing his presence. There was no life for him in a world where she wouldn't be his. He could only live with the misery of those ten years because he clung with such frantic desperation to the idea that ultimately, she would return to his side. Now that the game was over, he saw his illusions for what they were, a castle of cards falling apart with a sudden gush of wind.

He had a small measure of comfort in the fact that Kiryuu had been the only one to ever drink his blood. As a result, when the pureblood died, the rest of his strenght would transfer to him, making him far more powerful than an ex-human could ever dream of, putting an end to his descent to level E and probably even voiding problems such as the inability to process blood tablets or the thirst.

Even though he wouldn't be there anymore, at least his power would be protecting her through Kiryuu, even if it was a meager solace at the face of the unbearable pain he felt.

Holding the razor in a determined hand, he slashed across his left wrist, then changed hands and repeated the action on the other one. The wounds healed so fast that it was disheartening.

He had ingested a potent poison earlier that night, with the intent of crashing his regenerative system so that the bleeding would be effective enough, but it had clearly not taken effect yet. It was hunter made and designed to stop a vampire's healing, but it was probably meant for normal vampires and thus lacked potency against a pureblood. But he had guessed it would be the case, and had taken an amount several times the quantity specified, so it was ensured to kick in soon enough.

No poison would do his body enough damage by itself, but it would enable him to bleed to death.

He slashed again, a deeper gash now, wishing he had simply gotten a vampire hunter blade instead, so he wouldn't have to keep reopening the wounds constantly as he bled. But Kaname had always had a deep aversion for the weapons of the hunters, made worse by his uncle Rido's attack on his parents, and so he resigned himself.

The others would pick up on the scent of his blood instantly, but he knew no one would dare to enter without his permission, and by the time the scent was strong enough that they might disobey him out of worry, enough time would have passed and it would be too late to stop the effects of the shattering. He would turn to dust, and she wouldn't have to cry over a body, nor to worry anymore about hurting the feelings of one of them when she went for the other. If he played his last move well, he would be gone from her life without her ever knowing he did more than merely disappear. She would be free, to have the life she wanted, next to the one she chose.

The pain from the cuts didn't even register compared to the agony of such an idea, his Yuuki next to someone else. But to him, it was her happiness that had ever mattered, and not a single time in his life had he ever hesitated before subjecting himself to anything to ensure that her happiness would go on.

It would be the end of the Kuran line, at the hands of the most frequent cause of pureblood casualties: the loss of the will to live. But this was the least of his concerns.

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Several hours had passed since the poison had finally kicked in. The cuts all along his forearms had long stopped closing, blood flowing freely into the water and blossoming into a dark red.

Too weary to remain sitting, the pureblood had slid down and was now laying in his bloody bath, his head resting against the back of the tub little ways above the water level. His eyes were lost on speckles of light dancing weakly on the ceiling of his bathroom, imaginary butterflies of light chasing each other in a meaningless dance that conjured happy memories of Yuuki and him dancing in the past.

The night was over, and the day itself might be well advanced already, although he wouldn't be able to tell for sure, as his mind had long stopped registering the passing of time.

At this point it was too far gone to even register the noise of the door breaking in.

It wouldn't be much longer before the end now, but as he started to almost feel at peace and get used to the idea that he would no longer have to go on suffering, unwelcome hands plunged into the bloody water, grabbing onto him, pulling him out of his pool of blood, forcing his numb skin into the cold air as they dragged him out onto the bathroom ground, unheeding of his weakened cries of protest.

"Go away!! Just leave me alone!!" He cried out, but his voice was so weak he could barely recognize it himself.

When would the wretched hunter stop tormenting him?! On top of robbing him of his very reason to live, Kiryuu had to even stop him from fading away peacefully?!

"Go away, you took everything I had, don't take away what dignity I still have left!!" He half sobbed the words out, struggling weakly in the hunter's arms, trying to snatch away from his grasp, mortified that he couldn't even fight him back in this state.

But Zero would not leave, would not stop holding onto him while quickly wrapping the mess that the pureblood had done of his arms, hoping to give them enough time to heal before he lost anymore blood.

Zero knew well that was he was doing was more inhumane than anything else. Much as Kaname had told him long ago, their feelings for Yuuki were the same. Were he in the same situation, he would have taken the same route Kaname did. That was precisely what made him come; he knew what the pureblood was about to do.

It was also precisely what made him aware that forcing him to live was an unforgivable torture.

But they both lived for Yuuki. And much as she had chosen him, she would inevitably grieve Kaname's death. And Zero was well willing to commit inhumane acts and have Kaname hate him until the end of times, if it meant that Yuuki wouldn't have to suffer.

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Sagakure, June 10th 2008

My Muses wouldn't leave me alone with this fic, so it became a series of short chapters instead of just this one-shot. I will be posting them as soon as I'm done tweaking them around and editing etc :D Maybe one each day or each few days. It works on its own though, so perhaps the other chapters could be counted as an epilogue or, better yet, a sequel.